Beatrice and Benedick in Act 1 of Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

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Beatrice and Benedick in Act 1 of Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

In 'Much Ado About Nothing' we learn about Beatrice and Benedick. Benedick is a very confident, witty man who appears to have a love hate relationship with Beatrice. He is very self sure with women and makes it known to others that he would prefer to remain a bachelor for the rest of his life rather than marry a woman. Beatrice in a way is very similar to Benedick, she also is very intelligent and witty but she seems to have more of a fiery nature which seems to hide most of her true feelings. She challenges men, which would seem quite insulting to a Shakespearean audience as it would not be expected of an Elizabethan
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Beatrice often makes out to the audience about Benedick's poor qualities, 'he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat' which implies that he changes his mind too often and cannot settle. Beatrice is extremely critical of Benedick and when talking to the messenger, 'No; and he were, I would burn my study' she indicates that she has a hatred for him which is ironic as later it becomes apparent that she is still in love with him.

In the beginning of Scene 1 when in conversation with Benedick she uses the phrase 'nobody marks you' this is ironic to the audience as Beatrice 'marks' or notices him the most, perhaps due to her hidden feelings towards him. Beatrice appears much more spiteful and insulting towards Benedick than he is to her, 'a bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.' So exclaims that a creature such as a parrot that can speak is better than a dumb one such as a horse.

Benedick has the reputation of a womaniser and a "prince's jester", as well as being fickle and superficial in his friendships. His first line in the scene to Leonato implies that he is the prince's fool and is a humorous character, 'where you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?' commenting that the Prince might not of been sure is Hero was his daughter.

Beatrice uses Benedick's characteristics against him on many occasions.